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Our Work

Experience social entrepreneurship. Experience change. Become change.

Change Through Experiential Learning 

 We know about social entrepreneurship. Grassroots U is an educational program of Virtue Ventures, the first social enterprise management consulting firm to focus on social enterprise in international development.  Our programs are created by experts with feet planted firmly in the field.  

We know that real learning happens through experience. Grassroots U education methodology emphasizes learning-by-doing. We follow the 70:20:10 Rule in our programs.   


Model of Learning 

our Method  

Conventional classroom teaching is largely ineffective.  Research shows that people learn best through experience and from others. Only a small amount of learning happens in a classroom. For that reason, Grassroots U uses the 70:20:10 rule in the  execution of its programs.




by Doing 

Most learning is  experiential. Grassroots U builds skills,  leadership, and experience  through practice.  Participants are immersed in local communities.  They apply frameworks and tools from practice to problem solve and innovate in  real-life.


Peer Learning

from Others 

Grassroots U participants learn firsthand from their peers by collaborating with them in the field and the classroom. Peer learning adds depth of understanding, cultural texture, and technical rigor not found in most similar programs.  Sharing thoughts, ideas,  experience, and stories with one another 

recognizes everyone's value. 


Formal Learning 

in the Classroom 

Our limited time in the classroom (or under a tree) is used to teach frameworks, theories and expert tools that will be applied to field work and used in consulting.  Group discussions and self-reflection are also important nontraditional aspects  of the Grassroots U program. 

Kolb's Cycle of Experiential Learning

3.  Make Sense of Experience

Participants analyze experiences and distill their perceptions into abstract concepts. Participants use critical thinking to reframe their assumptions and conceptualize new ideas. 

2. Reflect on Experience

Through reflection exercises, participants process their experiences, noticing what happened and relating it to past experiences and conceptual understandings.  Reflection also enables participants to process their beliefs, thoughts, and feelings in the context of the experience. 

4. Apply Learning

Participants test new ideas and hone skills in a new experience . Active experimentation is an important part of  experiential learning. 

1. Have an Experience

Participants engage in authentic  social entrepreneurship experiences through field exercises and consulting, living in local communities,  collaborating with peers and participating in cultural celebrations and traditions

 Experiential Learning Methods  

"For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them."

- Aristole, The Nicomachean Ethics    

We use experiential learning methods to deliver rigorous technical  programs that build marketable skills and practical experience, as well as provide expert tools and professional networks that prepare participants for careers in social change. The technical content of our programs reflects the work and concentrations found in social entrepreneurship and international development fields. 




   We implement through local partners who help provide field work, consulting assignments, projects, venues, meals,

lodging, etc. which enables profound access to communities, 

 information, expertise & on-the-ground realities.


The Grassroots U classroom is the field. Circumstances are authentic and social entrepreneurship is happening in real-life. Learning is hands-on, practical, straight up and reality-based. 


Participants work collaboratively in mixed cohorts with local peers.  Peer learning adds depth of understanding, cultural texture and technical rigor though sharing skills and experience. 



Grassroots U programs incorporate industry expertise from world class social enterprise consultants, local subject matter experts, leading social entrepreneurs.  Programs are built on decades of experience.


Social entrepreneurship 

tools and frameworks are applied in the field exercises. Participants

also connect their Grassroots U experience to their aspirations in tangible action plans.

Educational Components

 Over the years we've developed experiential education modules for our social entrepreneurship programs. We customize all program content to meet the specific learning objectives of our customers using proven educational modules to achieve learning outcomes. 


Grassroots U participants work and study collaboratively in mixed cohorts with local peers.  Peer learning adds depth of understanding, cultural texture and technical rigor though sharing skills and experience not found in most other programs. Grassroots U integrates peers in all its programs regardless of whether participants are students, professionals, social entrepreneurs or nonprofit leaders.

crucial role of our partners 

Technical Focus

Grassroots U programs teach best practices reflected in four social entrepreneurship technical concentrations. Programs may focus on one, more, or all of the technical areas depending on learning objectives.


How to design, start, manage and lead businesses that benefit people and the planet in a financially sustainable way


How to incorporate business acumen, entrepreneurship, and sound management practices into nonprofits and development organizations to strengthen performance and achieve sustainability.


Understand impact investment landscape and strategy.
How to identify, vet and structure investments for social and 
financial ROI.


How to invent and implement novel solutions to social needs and problems. 


Vandana Granta,

Hand of Hope/TOMS Shoes

“We have such an amazing time with all the Grassroots U teams. Consultants inspired us with many program designs, valuable insights, and helped us make improvements. We learned a lot from them.”

Suresh Grandhi,

Founder GVIT

"Grassroots U is an inspiring, and innovative program that ignited our minds to realize ideas that drive innovation and ultimately lead to good society."

Jacen Greene,

Impact Entrepreneurs

 "Grassroots U changed how I view the teaching of social entrepreneurship

and what is possible in an educational program."

Verghese Jacob

Social Investor  

"Grassroots U is a most unique learning experience. Social entrepreneurship best practices are observed at the grass roots level and learning imbibed from the perspective of practitioners."

The authenticity, depth of engagement, and quality of our programs would not be possible if it were not for our great partners.

Grassroots U is built on strong and mutually beneficial partnerships with leading nonprofits, social enterprises, learning institutions, and companies. 

Partners benefit by:

  • Having consultants 

  • Rendering services

  • Participating in peer learning activities

  • Hosting foreign visitors

  • Sharing knowledge

  • Mentoring and getting mentored

  • Solving problems and innovating solutions collaboratively

  • Teaching others

  • Leading by example

subject matter expertise 

 learning venuEs 

community engagement  

social enterprises products & Services 


 Leadership role models

ON THE GROUND reality 

homestay families

examples of how it works


 lOCAL Peers 


consulting opportunities  



We are relentlessly in pursuit of quality in our programs. For us, quality is about integrity and authenticity of experience and legitimacy of learning. 

Grasssroots U programs are grounded in real-life social entrepreneurship.   Quality means that you learn relevant skills and live social entrepreneurship.  Our goal is to provide a transformative experience that will inspire you and catalyze change. 

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